This week marks one month of the California Shelter in Place order. During that week, I wrote this article detailing a couple of ways that companies could make videos while keeping each other safe from Coronavirus. A lot can happen in a month, and it seems I wasn’t the only one thinking of using stock footage with voice over or self made cell phone clips. Here are just a few national ad campaigns that you may have seen.

There’s Walmart Employees singing Lean On Me in “Walmart Neighbors”

And this Ad, “You Can Trust Us to Be Here for You” which Toyota recently pulled…

…probably because it featured some of the same stock footage clips as this commercial from Northwell Health, “It’s What New Yorker’s Do”,

And the extremely emotional Facebook ad “Never Alone”

(Side note, I think it’s worth it to watch some of the original work of the poet featured in the soundtrack of the Facebook ad, Kate Tempest‘s “People’s Faces”. Here’s a link to a live reading and here’s an animated version Directed by Natalya Lobanova at Thiing Studios that I love even more. While I understand why they removed some of her more political leanings, they feel profoundly even more relevant today than when she originally performed this poem. Also, I find it strange that FB didn’t take the opportunity to credit Ms. Tempest, even in the youtube description of the video.) 

Overall I think what many companies are missing is the most important part of video: connection. This is why people are zooming, skyping and face-timing more than ever. The best messages are parts of larger, ongoing visual conversations. In the case of brands, that means connecting current events to your mission. Not just ‘we are complying with the recommendations of health experts’ but also digging a little deeper to figure out ‘here’s how our work connects to your life, now, during these changing times.’ By that measure, much of the media being put online falls flat. The customer experience has to be more than just consuming a product. So far, only a couple of brands have figured out how to make this pivot.

Apple Computers have always used their video ads to emphasize how they “think different” from other technology companies. In recent years, this means aligning themselves with professionals in the creative arts: dance, music, film, and television. So it makes sense that they would show us how Apple products are being used by artists to creatively pivot into the new normal that we find ourselves. By extension, they are also implying that each of us can creatively pivot too – a hopeful message that combines both product placement and customer conversations.

Apple “Creativity Goes On”

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